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Immigration News - January and February of 2010

02/26/2010: Form I-485 Revised Filing Locations

Beginning February 25, 2010, most applicants must submit Form I-485 to a USCIS Lockbox facility, depending on the eligibility category under which they are filing, as provided in the form instructions. USCIS Service Centers will forward all Form I-485 applications to the appropriate Lockbox facility until March 29, 2010. USCIS will accept previous versions of Form I-485 until March 29, 2010. After March 29, 2010, USCIS will only accept the Form I-485 dated "12/03/09."Any previous versions of the the form that are submitted will be rejected. After the transitional period, the Service Centers will return any incorrectly filed Form I-485 with instructions to send the application to the correct location. - USCIS Announcement

02/26/2010: Form I-360 Revised Filing Locations

Beginning February 25, 2010, applicants must file a Form I-360 with either the Vermont Service Center, the Nebraska Service Center, or at a USCIS Lockbox facility. Where applicable, USCIS Service Centers will forward Form I-360 petitions to the appropriate Lockbox facility until March 29, 2010. After the transitional period, the Service Centers may return incorrectly filed Form I-360 with instructions to send the petition to the correct location. USCIS will accept previous versions of Form I-360 until March 29, 2010. After March 29, 2010, USCIS will reject previous versions of the form submitted. - USCIS Announcement

02/26/2010: Form I-765 Revised Filing Locations

Beginning February 24, 2010 applicants must now submit Form I-765 to one of the USCIS Lockbox facilities or the USCIS Vermont Service Center, based on the classification under which they are filing. Detailed guidance can be found in updated Form I-765 instructions as well as at The Service Centers will forward incorrectly filed applications to the USCIS Phoenix and Dallas Lockbox facilities for the first 30 days, until March 26, 2010. After March 26, 2010, applications incorrectly filed at USCIS Service Centers will be returned to the applicant, with a note to send the application to the correct location. - USCIS Announcement

02/24/2010: Startup Visa Bill Introduced

The StartUp Visa Act of 2010 will allow an immigrant entrepreneur to receive a two year visa if he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to dedicate a significant sum - a minimum of $250,000 - to the immigrant's startup venture. - Blog

02/22/2010: Many H-1B Workers Get Temporary Jobs

Many employers sponsor H-1B holders to have them fill temporary posts, not to become full-time residents of the U.S., according to a study released last week by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit think tank. - ComputerWorld

02/22/2010: High-Tech Border Fence is Slow Going

Reporting from Washington - An ambitious, multibillion-dollar project to hot-wire the new Southwest border fence with high-tech radar, cameras and satellite signals has been plagued with serious system failures and repeated delays and will probably not be completed for another seven years -- if it is finished at all. - LA Times

02/22/2010: Change of Filing Locations for Two USCIS Forms

USCIS has changed the filing locations for two additional forms: Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Departure Document, and Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition. The changes are part of an overall effort to transition the intake of benefit forms from USCIS local offices and Service Centers to USCIS Lockbox facilities.

02/16/2010: $57.7-million Fence Added to an Already Grueling Illegal Immigration Route

Some question the cost, effectiveness and environmental effect of erecting a fence on Otay Mountain, where those who hiked three days up a steep, arid peak were often met by border agents anyway. - NY Times

02/16/2010: American Granny Enjoys First Spring Festival after Getting Chinese "Green Card"

After 10 years, Eunice Moe Brock, a 93-year-old American granny, has gotten used to enjoying the Chinese lunar New Year like a local in Liaocheng, in east China's Shandong Province. The year 2010 is the Year of Tiger in the Chinese lunar calendar, and this Spring Festival is the first the silver-haired granny has passed in China since receiving permission to live permanently in China in July last year. - People's Daily

02/12/2010: Chinese New Year, Winter Olympics and Valentine's Day

What a weekend! We wish you a happy Valentine's Day and a happy New Year (the year of Tiger), and enjoy the Olympics 2010!

Chinese New Year, Winter Olympics and Valentine's Day

02/09/2010: Proposed Fee Schedule for Consular Services

This rule proposes adjustments in current fees for consular services. The Department of State is adjusting the fees in light of an independent cost of service study's ("CoSS") findings that the U.S. Government is not fully covering its costs for providing these services under the current fee structure. The primary objective of the adjustments to the Schedule of Fees is to ensure that fees for consular services reflect costs to the United States of providing the services. - Federal Register

02/07/2010: In Fighting Visa Fraud, Nothing Beats the Personal Touch

U.S. is using new technology and better cooperation between agencies to detect false applications, but face-to-face visits are the best way to catch a fraudulent claim. - LA Times

02/07/2010: Despite Dim Prospects, Advocates Push for Immigration Bill

As President Obama vows to refocus Democrats' attention on jobs and the economy, advocates for overhauling the nation's immigration laws say they are still gearing up for a battle in the Senate in coming weeks, despite fading hopes for victory...With time running out before lawmakers want to start focusing on the November elections, "immigration is deader than a doornail," said one veteran Senate lobbyist. Advocates' frustration peaked last month when Obama devoted one sentence in his 71-minute State of the Union address to a topic he ranked as a top priority last summer, after health care and an energy bill. - Boston Globe

02/05/2010: March 2010 Visa Bulletin

DOS today published the visa bulletin for March 2010.

02/05/2010: TARP Employers and H-1B Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) prodived additional guidance regarding the Employ American Workers Act (EAWA) to employers seeking to file H-1B petitions. Basically, an employer who has repaid TARP funding should answer "No" to Question A.1.d. on Form I-129 that asks whether the employer received federal funding under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). USCIS additionally reminds employers that EAWA applies only to new hires and not to H-1B petitions seeking to change the status of a beneficiary working for the petitioning employer in another work-authorized category. It also does not apply to H-1B petitions seeking an extension of H-1B status for a current employee to continue working for the same employer. - USCIS Update

02/03/2010: Professional Conduct for Practitioners

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations governing representation and appearances by, and professional conduct of, practitioners in immigration practice before its components to: Conform the grounds of discipline and procedures regulations with those promulgated by the Department of Justice (DOJ); clarify who is authorized to represent applicants and petitioners in cases before DHS; remove duplicative rules, procedures, and authority; improve the clarity and uniformity of the existing regulations; make technical and procedural changes; and conform terminology. This rule enhances the integrity of the immigration adjudication process by updating and clarifying the regulation of professional conduct of immigration practitioners who practice before DHS. - Federal Register

02/02/2010: DHS Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Report

The Department of Homeland Security has published a final report on the National Dialogue - Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), which was hosted between July 16 and October 4, 2009. One of the department's objectives is to promote lawful immigration:

"Clearly communicate with the public about immigration services and procedures. Lawful immigration contributed greatly to the building of America and continues to enrich our society, our economy, and our way of life. Promoting lawful immigration requires transparent procedures and sustained efforts to inform the public about immigration programs and policies. Thus, to promote lawful immigration, all appropriate information regarding immigration programs, eligibility requirements, application instructions, and status updates must be available to external users through multiple user-friendly avenues, including an interactive, Web-based portal. Feedback from stakeholders must be obtained and assessed in an integrated manner, and solutions, current policies, and policy changes must be clearly communicated to stakeholders and to the public."

02/02/2010: Incorrect Approval Notices for Certain I-129 and I-539 Cases

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is alerting customers of certain Notices of Approval (Forms I-797) issued between Jan. 20 and Jan. 27, 2010, with incorrect or missing information. The form types impacted are Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) and Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539). - News Release

02/02/2010: EOIR's Legal Orientation and Pro Bono Program

The Executive Office for Immigration Review's (EOIR) Legal Orientation and Pro Bono Program provides aliens in immigration court proceedings with legal information and self-help resources and improves aliens' access to pro bono legal representation. Aliens in immigration court proceedings are not entitled to publicly-funded legal representation. Consequently, many appear in the immigration courts and before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) without legal counsel. EOIR works closely with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the Program's four initiatives: the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), the BIA Pro Bono Project, the Unaccompanied Alien Children Initiative and the Model Hearing Program. - DOJ Fact Sheet

01/30/2010: Current USCIS Organizational Chart

USCIS Org Chart and Leadership Team

01/29/2010: Jan. 26 USCIS Stakeholder Meeting Q&A

Questions and answers related to H-1B, I-90 green card replacement, application fees, etc.

01/27/2010: Change of Filing Location for Form I-601

Beginning 1/27/2010, the following filing location changes are in effect for applicants located in the United States: Applicants who a) have an approved Form I-360 based as a Self-petitioning spouse or child of an abusive U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, or b) are a T nonimmigrant seeking adjustment of status, and who are filing Form I-601, must file their application at the USCIS Vermont Service Center. - News Release

01/27/2010: USCIS Fact Sheet: Humanitarian Parole

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides a number of humanitarian programs and types of protection for individuals in need of shelter and/or aid from disasters, oppression, emergency medical issues and other urgent conditions. Humanitarian parole is one such program. Humanitarian parole enables an otherwise inadmissible individual to enter the U.S. temporarily due to a compelling emergency. USCIS may grant humanitarian parole based on urgent, compelling reasons, or to promote a significant public benefit. This parole does not confer any permanent immigration status, but does enable a recipient to apply for and receive employment authorization. - Fact Sheet

01/27/2010: USCIS to Correct Errors in Recent Advance Parole Documents

U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) announced today that it will reissue Advance Parole documents (Form I-512) in response to documents that were mailed to applicants with an incorrect issue date of January 5, 1990. All affected documents have been identified and USCIS will automatically reissue documents to individuals who have received a document with the incorrect issue date. - News Release

01/26/2010: Scams Targeting Haitian Applicants for Temporary Protected Status

USCIS warns Haitians applying for temporary protected status to be aware of immigration scams. USCIS has a dedicated website providing guidance on its response to Haiti at - USCIS Fact Sheet

01/21/2010: Registration Begins for Temporary Protected Status to Haiti

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that eligible Haitian nationals in the United States may begin the application process for Temporary Protected Status. Details and procedures for applying for TPS are provided in the Federal Register notice published today.

01/21/2010: Petition Filing and Processing Procedures for Form I-140

The Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is used to petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to classify an alien beneficiary as eligible for an immigrant visa based on employment. The employer generally files the Form I-140 on behalf of the alien. - USCIS I-140 Q&A

01/15/2010: Temporary Protected Status for Haitians

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Janet Napolitano, has determined that an 18-month designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti is warranted because of the devastating earthquake and aftershocks which occurred on January 12, 2010. As a result, Haitians in the United States (and other individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Haiti) are unable to return safely to their country. DHS will continue to work with other branches of the United States Government to closely monitor developments in Haiti to determine the need for additional action. - USCIS Q&A

01/15/2010: How to Help Haiti

Google hosts a Support Disaster Relief in Haiti page which contains a variety of resources, including ways to donate money.

01/14/2010: Immigrant-Services Groups and Their Founder Are Frauds, Suit Says

Mr. Juarez-Pagliocco's companies advertised widely, and immigrants came to them for services like obtaining citizenship or a green card. In one case, a man seeking a green card paid the organizations more than $18,000 but never got it because of the groups' delays and negligence, the statement said. Other clients faced deportation because of inadequate representation, the statement said. - NY Times

01/13/2010: Determining Employer-Employee Relationship in H-1B Petitions

This memorandum is intended to provide guidance, in the context of H-1B petitions, on the requirement that a petitioner establish that an employer-employee relationship exists and will continue to exist with the beneficiary throughout the duration of the requested H-1B validity period. - Neufeld Memo, USCIS Q&A

01/12/2010: USCIS Reorganization

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas released a statement on the realignment of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services organizational structure. The three major changes are:

  • The creation of a Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate;
  • The creation of a new Customer Service Directorate; and
  • The division of the existing Domestic Operations Directorate into two separate directorates, Service Center Operations and Field Operations.

01/08/2010: February 2010 Visa Bulletin

DOS published the visa bulletin for February 2010.

01/06/2010: Stay and Help Family or Go to Harvard

Luis Duarte left El Salvador for the United States when he was 7 years old, enrolling in school unable to speak English. Against all odds, Luis graduated in June from Plano East Senior High School ranked ninth out of 1,338 students. He also earned a diploma from the prestigious college prep International Baccalaureate program. His achievements earned him a full scholarship to Harvard University, but he was hesitant about going. - Dallas News

01/06/2010: Immigration's New Year

After years of tightening the screws, the system is hopelessly frozen. Those who want to fix it will have to shut out the choruses of no-amnestys and over-my-dead-bodys, sidestep the false arguments and press into the headwinds while holding firm to the core of the better solution. To legalize the undocumented, collect their unpaid taxes, free them to earn more and spend more, to get the immigrant escalator to the middle class moving again. The country needs it; the economy needs it; the immigrants need and deserve it. - NYT Editorial

01/05/2010: USCIS I-485 Inventory

Yesterday USCIS released pending I-485 inventory data as of December 11, 2009. Our Green Card Tracker database has now been updated with this new information. You can also compare the two inventory updates directly by following links on the tracker page.

01/01/2010: Extension of Validity of Medical Certifications on Form I-693

Due to the continuing backlog of some adjustment of status applications, the validity of the civil surgeon's endorsement on Form I-693, when submitted in support of an adjustment of status application, is extended until the time of adjustment if no Class A or Class B medical condition is certified by the civil surgeon in section 2, 3 or 4 of Part 2 of the Form I-693. A Form I-693 remains valid until the time of adjustment even if section 6 of Part 2 shows a Class B medical condition other than those addressed in section 2, 3 or 4. This policy will be in effect until January 1, 2011. - USCIS Memo

Note: USCIS has been extending this policy every year in recent years.

01/01/2010: Happy New Year!

From all of us at, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

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